With 284 sunny days per year on average and an enviable lifestyle right by the Pacific Ocean, Los Angeles continues to thrive as a cheaper and more attractive startup destination than most.
In recent years the so-called “Silicon Beach” has become a booming tech hub. Hot on the heels of New York, LA has been seeing impressive levels of capital flowing in. In 2015 alone the city’s startups received $3 billion in funding and achieved an exceptional $2.2 billion in exits. With exits quadrupling from 2010 to 2014, the biggest deal last year was Lynda.com’s $1.5 billion purchase by LinkedIn, and just this year Unilever swooped on Dollar Shave Club in a $1 billion deal.
LA’s local unicorns (we can’t forget SnapChat) and trailblazing startups ensure a wide range of talent is available to support the tech ecosystem while the city continues to draw a steady stream of founders. From VR advertising to co-living spaces, here’s a look at a few of the startups worth keeping an eye on from LA’s diverse, vibrant and growing startup scene.
Vertebrae’s mission is to help brands create immersive, interactive virtual reality advertisements. The startup’s platform offers interactivity and distributions tools, as well as powerful analytics, to help both publishers and brands monetize content and tap into what is predicted to become a huge market. A recent series A round should see the company well placed to operate at the forefront of the growing VR space.
Funding: $10M Series A on September 14, 2016
Ring is a smart video doorbell that offers home monitoring and security. Aimed at reducing crime in communities, this smart product allows users to answer the door from anywhere using their smartphone. This unique doorbell features an HD camera equipped with night vision to offer a clear view day and night, a cloud recording service to keep track of all activity and Ring can also send motion triggered alerts. Having just closed an impressive series C, the company plans to roll out a range of other smart security devices.
Zum offers on demand rides and care giving services for 5-15 year old kids from carefully vetted drivers with caregiving backgrounds. Parents can live-track the service and get full details of their driver for peace of mind. The service offers both family rides and carpools and gives families a small pool of drivers to ensure familiarity. Zum also allows parents to book additional services such as babysitting or help with a specific activity.
Cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike offers pioneering cloud delivered endpoint protection and services. The company’s Falcon platform detects attacks, including those that don’t come from malware, and stops breaches. The service operates 100% via native cloud architecture, and can be integrated easily and managed 24/7 directly by CrowdStrike, who have dedicated in-house threat intelligence and incident response teams. The startup also employs patented behavioral pattern recognition technology to detect attacks.
Klickly is a data-driven impulse payment solution for social streams and mobile experiences. The company’s smart AI button allows people to make an entire purchase as well as other calls to action from directly with an ad, email, social media or website, on both mobile and desktop. The tool allows users to impulse buy without having to go through a check out process, offering everyone from artists and influencers to brands and publishers an easier way to monetize.
Podshare goes one step beyond co-working spaces by offering co-working and co-living spaces. The company offers pods in shared rooms for $15 for a 12-hour day pass or $50 for a 24-hour overnight pass. A mix of a hostel and a co-working space, the pods appeal to people on a budget or those travelling solo and are designed with freelancers in mind. With a cult following, Podshare plans to expand throughout LA and beyond.
Founded by a team of data scientists, ZestFinance uses big data to disrupt the underwriting process and give underwriters a better sense of risk. The startup uses machine learning algorithms to change how credit decisions are made and offer fair and transparent credit. ZestFinance helps companies to make more accurate credit decisions, increases credit availability for borrowers and ensures higher repayment rates for lenders.
Imbellus offers tests that measure a person’s creativity, critical thinking and ability to solve problems. The aim is to help employers and other organizations assess people’s skills and suitability in a better way than SAT scores and GPAs. The company is partnering with a large Fortune 500 company to help design a screening process for their business and is helping employers find desirable attributes among top performers.
HelloTech offers home support and consultations for consumers who need to fix, manage or upgrade the technology in their home. The company uses a background checked, on-demand workforce to help repair, set up or install everything from computers to networks and home theaters. With the recent acquisition of competitor Geekatoo, the company has created the first nationwide support network.
Hyperloop One is developing the world’s first Hyperloop, a reduced pressure tunnel system that uses pressurized capsules to move both passengers and cargo very quickly between two points. Based on a concept by Elon musk, the company closed a very big Series B round this year so expect to see some significant developments.